Prospective MFA Student FAQs

We have tried to answer the most frequently asked questions here. If, after reading this list, you still have unanswered questions, please contact us.

  1. Where do I apply on-line?  
    You can apply now via the Graduate School's website.  
  2. When is the application deadline?
     January 5, 2021 at 11:59 pm (EST).
  3. Does your program admit students for the Spring semester.
  4. What is the most important part of the application?
    The creative writing sample is the single most important element of a successful application to the MFA Program in Creative Writing. Of course, the Creative Writing faculty look closely at all of the other materials in the application file: statement of goals, research interests, and experiences; three letters of recommendation; transcripts.
  5. Is it possible to meet with the Creative Writing faculty and/or staff to discuss the admissions process?
    Unfortunately, the faculty and/or staff do not have the time to meet with prospective applicants. We do, however, strongly encourage applicants who have been accepted into the program to visit in March to meet with faculty, staff, and current students and attend a graduate-level course. 
  6. When are admissions decisions made?
    Admissions decisions are made in February and March.
  7. Should the fiction writing sample be one piece or several pieces?
    The fiction writing sample can be either a novel excerpt, a short story, or several short stories, as long as the writing sample does not exceed 15 double-spaced pages.
  8. Can I submit creative work in more than one genre and/or apply in more than one genre?
    No.  All MFA applicants must apply within one genre (fiction or poetry) and submit work only within that chosen genre.
  9. Does Maryland offer an MFA in Creative Nonfiction?
    No. However, a workshop in Creative Nonfiction is offered occasionally, and MFA students are welcome to take it as an elective.
  10. Does the program offer a low-residency option.
  11. What kind of financial aid packages does the program offer?
    Each year, the program accepts 8 applicants (4 fiction writers and 4 poets), who are fully funded by Teaching Assistantships for up to three years of graduate study. Our aid packages include a stipend of about $20,000 per academic year and 60 credit hours of tuition remission (10 credit hours of tuition remission per semester). As Teaching Assistants, our MFA students teach one class during their first year (in the spring semester), three classes during their second year (two courses in the fall semester and one course in the spring semester), and four classes during the optional third year of study (two courses per semester). Our MFA students typically teach an undergraduate creative writing workshop initially (in the spring semester of the the first year) and teach ENGL 101 and/or serve as teaching assistants in undergraduate literature courses during their second year and third years.
  12. How do I put myself in the running for aid?
    No separate application is required. Please see the answer to question 12 (above).
  13. When are decisions made about program-awarded aid (fellowships and teaching assistantships)?
    In February and March. We fully fund all 8 applicants who we've accepted. Our offer letter details the program-awarded aid package.
  14. Where can I find information on tuition and fees?
    Student Financial Services and Cashiering provides a chart of tuition and fees for Graduate Students by credit hour and residency classification (resident and non-resident). That chart is found here.
  15. Do MFA students ever attend the program part-time?
    No. Since our MFA students are fully funded by Teaching Assistantships, they must remain enrolled on a full-time basis (taking at least 6 credit hours of graduate-level coursework per semester) throughout the first two years of the degree. That said, once they've completed coursework, many of our MFA students choose to extend their Teaching Assistantship (and remain fully funded) for a third year to complete the thesis, at which point they take 1 to 4 credit hours per semester of English 799, Master's Thesis Research, with their respective thesis advisors, and they continue to teach in the English Department. The typical teaching load for a third-year MFA student is two courses in the fall and two courses in the spring.
  16. What time do the MFA students take classes? ​​Most graduate English classes are offered once a week, Monday-Thursday, either from 3:30-6pm or from 6:30-9pm.  Fiction and poetry workshops are always Wednesdays from 3:30-6pm.  Students must be enrolled continuously--unless they petition the Graduate School for a medical leave of absence or for a waiver of continuous registration and such petitions are approved. 
  17. Does your program accept letters of recommendation via Interfolio? The Graduate School does not accept letters of recommendation via Interfolio. However, if Interfolio is your only option to submit your letters of recommendation, then please arrange for Interfolio to send your dossier electronically to the MFA Program Coordinator, Lindsay Bernal: (Lindsay will confirm the receipt of the dossier.) Please note that this alternative is a work-around: though the MFA faculty reviewers will be given access to your Interfolio dossier, your letters will continue to appear as missing from your application in Hobson's. 
  18. Does your program require applicants to submit GRE scores? No.
  19. Does your program recommend that applicants submit GRE scores? No.